Senate Custom Could Trip Up G.O.P.’s March to Reshape Courts

In Judiciary and Courts On

The 10 judicial nominations that the White House forwarded to the Senate this week are just the first in what could be an assembly line of judicial candidates headed to lifetime appointments at the urging of Mr. Trump and his advisers in the conservative legal community.

“I think it is a tremendous opportunity with 120 vacancies,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, welcoming the prospect of scores of conservative nominees coming before the Senate for approval.

And well he should. Thanks to changes in Senate practices engineered by Democrats, the administration and Senate Republicans stand a very strong chance of winning confirmation of most of these nominees and many others as long as they are willing to devote scarce Senate floor time to doing so. The prospect is very unsettling to Democrats, who are already threatening to slow the judicial parade as much as possible if Republicans break with a longstanding tradition of allowing senators to have a say in the selection of judges from their home states.

“They are not going to get any cooperation unless they bring us into the process,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat and another veteran of the Judiciary Committee. “The Republicans taught us a lesson. You can delay things with impunity.”

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